Sports FOOTBALL Conte's caution towards Spence shows how far the club...

Conte’s caution towards Spence shows how far the club hope to go


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TThere was a video dedicated to the “Sixth Spence”, and the excitement of the Tottenham fans was palpable. After weeks of talks, Jed Spence could be presented as the club’s sixth signing of the summer, as well as July 19 – a detail that almost calls for an exclamation point given how club chairman Daniel Levy previously liked to act.

The real meeting took place later that night, when Antonio Conte’s opinion on the translation was published on various newspaper websites. “Spence is the club’s investment,” the manager said. “The club wanted to do it. I said, “Okay. This player is young, but he has shown that he can be a good and important player for us.” The club decided to buy him.”

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Conte had given these quotes to reporters during the club’s tour of South Korea a few days earlier, and they were put on hold until the announcement—in case there was a late hitch; not that anyone was expecting it. What also matters in reporting is the context. Conte was asked a general question about the upcoming affairs of the club, and he, in journalistic terms, “offered” a line on Spence.

Conte always thinks carefully about his messages in media interviews and can often be heard returning to his central theme for emphasis. “I repeat,” he says before he beats the drum. The thing is, it wasn’t his fault in humid Seoul; mask reset. Conte wanted to clarify a few things that were completely in line with his worldview.

It would seem that Spence is ideally suited for the role of a right wing back in Conte’s 3-4-3 system. At 6 feet tall, he is a physically imposing, strong runner. Hi’s fast. He likes to move forward with the ball. But there is something that he still cannot call himself, and for Conte this is a fundamental gap. Spence lacks experience.

The 21-year-old was so good for Nottingham Forest during their promotion to the Premier League last season, where he was on loan from Middlesbrough, he was named in the EFL and PFA Championship Teams of the Year. But the fact remains that Spence never played in the top flight and his three England caps were at under-21 level.

Jed Spence celebrating promotion to Nottingham Forest. Photograph: Stephen Paston/PA.

Conte really doesn’t use the potential. He gives the impression that he is not too worried about attracting young players, because he is in too much of a hurry to win a league title. He prefers to be immediately assisted by battle-hardened teams such as Ivan Perisic, a 33-year-old Croatian who has joined the game as a left-back. Or Richarlison, only 25 years old but a regular in the Brazilian national team, brought in with Premier League know-how from Everton.

One of Conte’s accomplishments with the Spurs was that he convinced Levy to prioritize attracting established talent to get them quickly and deal with sales later. Fifth signing this summer – Clément Lenglet, the 27-year-old French central midfielder on loan from Barcelona, ​​signed on 8 July.

Richarlison was worth the initial £50m and he doesn’t appear to be automatically starting with Spurs ahead of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Dejan Kulusevski. But he will get his minutes and raise both Conte’s abilities and their level. Such a purchase is made by big clubs.

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Conte wants to manage Spence’s expectations, but another interpretation of his comments was that they were a challenge; character test. It’s up to Spence to work like a demon and prove to Conte that he’s ready to play ahead of Matt Doherty, Emerson Royal and possibly Lucas Moura, who the manager thinks could be repurposed as a right cornerback. As Conte said in a preview of Saturday’s home season opener with Southampton, it’s up to the players to make him happy, not the other way around.

Spence is not expected to start against Southampton as he only came on as a substitute in the pre-season against Rangers. It feels like he has a long road ahead of him; make adjustments, be patient. Spence entered the big time. And the school of severe blows Conte.

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